Posted by: GeekHiker | August 17, 2009

As Only Old Friendships Can

(I’m actually hesitant to post this.  Mainly because I think the writing sucks.  *sigh*)

I’ve been feeling oddly uninspired to write lately, and I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s just writers block, or this feeling of minor melancholy that’s descended on me for the last week or so.

Or maybe it’s just that my life seems pretty damn boring of late.  This seems especially true as I tour around the blogroll, reading people’s blogs about the interesting things in their lives that seem worthy of blogging.  Myself, on the other hand, well… I get up, go to work, come home, fix dinner for one, watch a movie or read or something, and go to bed.  That’s about it.

I mean, yeah, I went drinking with my friends the day after my birthday, which was fun but… really, “I went drinking with my friends the day after my birthday” seems way too short for a blog post.

Don’t you agree?

* * *

A couple of days before my birthday, I was on the phone chatting with The Best Friend, catching up on all the doings of our lives.  She was filling me in on the trip she and her guy had made over to England the previous month.

England.  Shit, now there’s something that would be worth blogging about!

Anyway, there had been talk of me joining them, but owing to the late notice, the relatively short (only a few days) nature of the trip and the fact that it was, for them, combined with family get-togethers, it never came to pass.

Besides, who wants to play third-wheel, right?

In all honesty, though, I rarely feel like a third wheel when I’m around them.  This is due, partially, to the length of time that I’ve known them.  When you’ve been around the same couple for fifteen years or so, and consider them both friends, it’s difficult to feel out-of-place.

Of course another big part of it is that they relatively rarely do that cute-couple shit that the rest of the world finds incredibly annoying.  Not to say that they aren’t a cute couple, or perfectly capable of finishing each other’s sentences (as well as knowing each other’s buttons to push), but they don’t tend to do it in any sort of ingratiating way.

In other words, if we’re out to dinner, they don’t stare longingly into each other’s eyes, say cute little things to each other and generally make everyone around them throw up in the mouths just a little bit.  And they don’t ignore the third person at the table (i.e. me).

It’s rather nice.

* * *

Unlike the past couple of years, I’m having difficulty writing a post about the birthday just past.  I mean, what can I say about a year that wasn’t exactly my best?  What can I say about a year in which I changed in some very fundamental ways, some positive and some decidedly negative?

I think that anything I wanted to write was more or less covered in that conversation with TBF a couple of weeks ago.  We talked about the dreams I have held on to and the dreams that have died.  We talked about how some people can come into your life and spend a long period of time there, but have relatively few lasting influences.  And sometimes people enter your life for a short period of time and change you forever.

Strange how life works sometimes, we mused.

We talked about how in some ways I’ve grown more positive, and in some ways more negative.  How she understood the “dichotomy” idea perfectly.

We chatted about the fact that any semblance of a dating life continued to be a cruel running joke, but that my social life had seen sudden expansion.  That I traveled a bit more, but not as far as I wanted to.  Then again, I suppose no one who travels does.

How thirty-five was the first year I really started, physically, to feel my age.  That I’m not running up the trails quite the way I used to.  That I can easily and completely fuck up my joints.

How I still felt unaccomplished in life, not only career wise but life-wise as well, especially as I watched friends (some newly unemployed) jet off to exotic locales.  It was strange, seeing them head off, exploring, living life, while I was trudging into work every day.

And I’m now officially too old for Contiki Travel.  *sigh*

There were good things that we chatted about too.

I hiked, I backpacked, I went to Mexico.  I learned how to not take everyone at face value, and how to recognize when someone blowing me off is their problem, not mine.

Well, for the most part; there’s always one exception.  Then again, isn’t there always one exception?

* * *

Like I said, though, the day after my birthday, I went out drinking with friends.  It wasn’t really a big thing: just drinks in a bar and seeing a really bad movie.  Then again, I’m the type of guy who really doesn’t want much more than that from a birthday.

At one point, one of my friends said to me that thirty-six sounded like a good number.  Nice and round and even, or something of that sort.  That it bode well for the year to come.

It sounded nice, but I’m not so sure I share his optimism that much will be different this year…

* * *

The Best Friend doesn’t often read the blog, but when we talk we’ll often end up chatting about the blog, the people I’ve come to know through it, the stories and tales and events that I’ve come to know through the ether.

In our last conversation, we were talking about the goings on of the previous year, the new bloggers I’ve met, the one’s who have vanished.

We chatted about how many people I knew, both in real life and online who’d met someone special within a short time of meeting me.

“That’s too many to be a coincidence…” she joked.

I’ve known The Best Friend for almost twenty years.  Bless her, she still thinks I’m a decent guy, just plagued by horribly bad luck on the whole dating scene.  I suppose it’s that history that allows me to banter with her on subjects I normally wouldn’t be able to joke about.

“I’m a bloody good-luck charm” I joked ruefully.

“Yeah, you are.  Hell, you should start charging for your services!” she replied with a laugh.

“That’s not a bad idea.  I should!” I replied with a chuckle.

“Damn, dude, you need to figure out some way to turn your skill on yourself!”

“Yeah, no fracking kidding!”

In any other context, I suppose that might seem to be a depressing conversation.  Oddly, though, it wasn’t.  She’s one of those few with whom I can take a negative side of my life, poke fun at it, and come out laughing in the end.

I guess it’s something that only the oldest, and best, of friendships can do.


  1. You called this writing “suck?” Geez — go easy on yourself! It’s a really touching post — made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside but also a wee bit jealous that I don’t have a friend like that! Come to think of it, my oldest friend (college roommate) lives in another country. My best friend my age lives in San Francisco. My best local friend is a 50-year-old ex-hippie/coworker (who is awesome cool and I love her with all my heart, but still, we belong to two different generations and sometimes we find it hard to relate to each other’s situation!). You are lucky to have TBF. Friendship is a true blessing in life — it may not complete you (but really, who can?), but it anchors you.

    If it’s any consolation, 36 is really fracking YOUNG for a guy, okay? Quit bitchin’ 😉 because you have a 34-year-old female reader that’s single (all my college friends are married, with or without kids), trapped at her job, feels unaccomplished in her life, can’t travel to exotic locations easily even if she wants to, constantly guilty about her parents who are constantly worried about her… Everybody has a sob story but you are still YOUNG and if you really put your mind to it, you can still change. We all think everybody else has the charmed life but under the veneer of perfection there might be misery — you just don’t know it.

    To borrow the lyrics of Leonard Cohen: “There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.” Focus on the light, not the crack, and I truly hope (and for some reason, I KNOW) the coming year will turn for the better! 🙂

  2. I think you’re nifty, just the way you are. This was a nice post. You’ll meet a nice person soon, I can feel it in my bones. Bones don’t lie, you know.

    and I hope you’re not too mad, but I just pointed and laughed at you when you complained about not being able to run uphill as much. I mean, C’MON! Really?


    The last thing I ran was a bubble bath. 😀

    Happy Birthday. I hope you have a great year!

  3. Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I’m a good luck charm for people too, and can’t get my own life sorted. And I think I’m in a worse spot than you as well. I’m 32 (so a few years behind) but had to move back in with my parents because of this job market, and have been looking for a job since December with no luck. There are no opportunities on the horizon, and I am afraid I will be here for a long time. I have no love life to speak of (you know the history there) and I’m not the greatest catch right now being unemployed and homeless/living with parents.

    And I know how it feels to have everyone you know get coupled up. The example I like to give is with a group of girlfriends. There are 10 of us. Three years ago, nine of us were single, so single that we told stories about bad first dates. Now, three years on, seven of them are married, two are living with their guys and about to get engaged, and there is one left who is completely single: ME.

    I feel your pain, my friend. I’ve even stopped blogging about it because it’s nothing but wallowing. But just remember, you aren’t alone.

  4. Even your sucky posts are pretty good.

    August is the month for the doldrums and a slow Blog month for anyone would be understandable. Frankly you’re doing better than me.

    I sometimes believe in Karma and, with all the good luck you have been imparting on others, a whole lot of good luck will be heading your way soon.

  5. Eh, I’m not into whining too much about my depressive life, aka why I haven’t been online lately, but I have got to tell you having a bff for 20+ years is an awesome thing. To think I was doing so well with 12. Dang.

    Ya know, it’s interesting. The older I get the more I’m profoundly interested in other people. How they interact, how they socialize, and how just dang on different they are from me. Not a bad thing, just saying. You are different and unique in the person and character you are. I have myself firmly convinced of two things when it comes to you:

    1. The dating scene in LA sucks. (I have the surveys to prove it!)
    2. No one that you’ve interacted with or hung out with, or crushed on…can quite handle you.

    Go see (500) days of summer. It might give you an entirely different perspective. It might depress you the way it did me…but go see it anyway. Worse comes to worse from my recommendation you have one wasted afternoon.

    Hopefully the popcorn will be good.

  6. K. First of all, can I just say how fortunate you are to have a friend to hold dear for 15 years? Do you have any idea how RARE and amazing that is? Second, I am totalllllly jealous of that. Yes. Me. Happily married, good job, great kid, adventures all over the place, jealous of you and what you have. Perespective is a nifty reality check, no? Life changes every second. Be grateful. And be open. Good things are coming but always always be aware of the good things already in place.
    So proud of you that you are able to value your positive changes and not focus solely on your negatives. You are destined for greatness.

  7. My dearest Hiker, about the “boring” life, going to work, coming home, going to sleep thing… I learned through reading many mommy blogs (what??!! I know) that it’s not about waiting for something interesting to happen to write, it’s about making something interesting for the sake of writing when one needs to.
    Because sometimes writing is good. And sometimes it’s just not.


    Anyway, if anything, I think you do have a lot to be thankful for this year, there’s a lot of experiences recorded here. 🙂

  8. K – So if it’s young for a guy, isn’t it also young for a girl? LOL Anyway, it’s not just women who find themselves comparing themselves to their peers, ya know…

    MissMcCracken – Well, I never actually RAN up those hills. Let’s just say I pant a lot more…

    Lea – Well, it’s good to know I have a soul mate out there, but I don’t know that it makes me feel better. In fact, I’m not sure that it should…

    Homer-Dog – Karma, eh? Hmmmmmm….

    CripKitty – 1. I would like to see these “surveys” you speak of and 2. I’m not sure how to read that; is that a good or bad thing?

    CMACC – Well, you managed to list many of the ways that I’m jealous of you! LOL Thanks for the nice words.

    Narami – True, but sometimes life is just the day-to-day grind, you know? I mean, short of winning the lottery, quitting my job and jetting around the world.

  9. But that wasn’t depressing at all actually. I like very much the way you wrote it.

    I realise you aren’t 20 anymore but that doesn’t mean you can’t act on your feelings. If you feel like “jetting” around the world, do so if only for a few months. I would anyway. Besides, comparing your life to others’ is not really healthy. Different paths for different outcomes and therefore as incomparable as wine and water are.

  10. It’s funny that you said you almost didn’t post this because you thought the writing wasn’t great. And here I am reading it, thinking that this post did such a wonderful job of conveying that feeling of restlessness, of melancholy, of isolation that we all feel from time to time.

    We all look at other’s lives and think they are more exciting than ours. I always read your blog with a tinge of envy. I love your description of hikes, or new neighbors, even of trips to Bed Bath and Beyond! I always miss the west coast when I read of it through your eyes.

    Today I read your blog not with a tinge of envy, but with a sense of camaraderie that we are all in this life, experiencing these thoughts together.

  11. i gotta go with everyone else here – the writing is so good. and TBF sounds like a really great person. you know i’m obsessed with travel so i say just go somewhere totally different next time you have time off. get out of your comfort zone. i’m a big fan of southeast asia, especially when money is tight. ten dollar accomodations and $3 dinners go a long way. And you meet some really great people and see such different beauty.

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